Glass Jaw

By Ross Ashcraft BA, LMT, NCTMB

Well, your neck hurts.  And it never seems to get fixed.  You take pain pills and it just comes back.  You rub your neck and the ache doesn’t change.  You tried ergonomic pillows and you only got a little relief.  You may have even tried massage but it only worked temporarily.  You are frustrated and wish someone would just MAKE it stop.

The problem is the issue may not be in your neck.  Problems in your jaw can many times present as pain in your neck.   

Simple test:  Place your hands on both sides of your face.  Press deeply into those muscles just in front and a little below your ears.  These are your jaw muscles—masseter to be specific.  On most people one of these muscles will be thicker or more developed.  This is typically caused by the simple idea that most of us chew on one side of our mouth more than the other.  This imbalance though can be the start of many aches and pains in our head and neck.


1.  Spread your fingers out along the top of these muscles.  You’ll have your index fingers right next to your ears and your pinkies half way to your nose right under your cheek bones.

2.  Press in to your tolerance and drag your fingers down until you reach your jaw line.   Do this 6x

3.  Press deeply into the thickest part of this muscle and hold to your tolerance.  Then move the jaw by opening and closing your mouth fully.   Don’t do this around other people they will think you need medical assistanceJ!

4.  Finish by stretching this muscle.  Take your hand and slowly move the jaw in all the different directions possible.


1.  This treatment is most effective when performed right before bed.

2.  If you have chronic pains in your head start this treatment slowly and progress to deeper pressure over several days.

3.  This treatment has brought those with TMJ tremendous relief IF you progress slowly and keep doing the treatment over several days.

172 thoughts on “Glass Jaw”

  1. I actually have headaches a lot, and I always think its from neck pain. This technique may be useful for my headache issues. I definatly plan on using this technique.

    -Brittany Raines

  2. I remember this procedure from one of your FAMOUS LAB DEMOS. I also use it myself when my TMJ starts giving me trouble. Thanks for the refresher course. Coach Ross

  3. I have TMJ and these techniques you shared felt so good. I will definitely be doing them on a regular basis for now on!

    Thank you!

  4. I don’t experience these problems but my husband does on occassion. I will have to try them with him when he is feeling that way or feels it coming on. Sounds like a very useful treatment technique

  5. I have been told in the past that I had/have TMJ. Recently, when I had an ear infection the doctor questioned me if I have/have had it. Its usually a question because when asked to open widely, I don’t get as far as they usually think I should. I so will try this when I have neck pain and a headache–which happen often enough. Thanks! 😀

  6. I happened to try this while I was at work on break, and you’re right…people looked at me quite strangely! Great technique, though, thanks!

  7. This technique worked great with my migraine I had. It is nice to learn and know something for presnt and future massages. Thanks!! -Amber

  8. I found this to be really helpful. My jaws have been aching lately due to stress. I tried this and my jaws felt a lot more relaxed and stopped aching. Thanks Ross!

  9. Ok, so this last weekend was EXTREMELY stressful to the point that I was pretty much physically aching from head to toe. Too many agendas, too many people to please, and WAY too little time, you should know how it goes. Anyways, I remembered this technique from Alpha class and after reading this blog decided to try it again. It definitely helped out by relieving some built-up tension and pain in my jaw from clenching my teeth will all the stress and worry. Thank you for reminding me of this technique. I will definitely use it more often.

  10. This is a great tip. I don’t have any problem with this muscle but I know a few people who do, I can’t wait to be able to practice this on them 🙂 This will be very useful in the future though.

  11. I occasionally have suffered from pain in my jaw joint and have even had the joint lock on me a few times. I have frequent headaches and neck pain as well. While I was not currently experiencing any of these issues, I am excited to know what to do the next time I do. Thank you for a fabulous new tool.

  12. Thanks for the technique. I don’t have troubles with this area but it will be good to share this with people I know who do.

  13. This is great information! I haven’t had any problems with this but when I do, I will know what to do. I can also tell people this technique who needs it.

  14. Great information and interesting to do, can’t wait to be able to help others with these problems. Thanks!

  15. Thanks Ross – when I concentrate I clench my jaw – especially when I massage!Usually I stretch my mouth and make faces when they are on their back but maybe will try this after they have gone!

  16. After recommending this technique to a friend, and after explaining what we had learned in the lab demonstration, I was able to help a friend of mine finally get some relief.

  17. I usually don’t suffer from headaches but, from time to time, do have neck pain. I will try this the next time. I did notice how much more the muscles in the jaw were relaxed. It will make a big difference the next time I ump from behind the plate. lol

  18. I really enjoyed this tip. Ive been practicing it at night and have noticed the annoying headaches that I wake up with in the morning have subsided. Thank you for all of your wonderful tips.

  19. I get headaches all the time, and after doing this technique and palpating those muscles, it’s no wonder. This is going to help so much!

  20. Good day!This was a really outstanding theme!
    I come from roma, I was fortunate to look for your website in baidu
    Also I get a lot in your topic really thanks very much i will come later

  21. i think i have read this one once before, i do this a lot and it helps with my neck pains. i honestly enjoy doing this

  22. When doing this exercise,I found that I was tendor along the mandible, closer to the ear. I think this indicates that I am clenching my teeth at night.

  23. I remember this from the last time, and I haven’t had any real issues since. I am not usually a headache sufferer. Guess that makes me lucky. Or used to the fact that I am imbalanced, ha-ha.

  24. Thanks Ross – have been doing this since last time you sent this blog and its helped loads. Think its also helps that once you are more aware of clenching unconsciously you then tune into it more often, do the excercises and stop the build up becoming really painful.My jaw feels so relaxed afterwards – like a good foot massage!

  25. I am very thankful that I don’t have troubles in this area. I will certainly keep this technique in mind if I run across a client that does. Thanks again.

  26. This is great! I already tried this on myself for my TMJ problems and it has made a difference already. I have a guest who was asking about TMJ as well, she’ll be excited to know that she can finally relieve the pain.

  27. This made me realize I chew on my right side because that muscle is significantly bigger than the left. I don’t have any TMJ problems but after doing this technique my jaw feels refreshed. Very nice.

  28. My headaches come from another source however, this is a good technique to know in order to help clients who suffer from TMJ. My mom grinds her teeth at night, it would also benefit people like her as well.

  29. I will try this technique the next time I have a headache or pain might start doing this before I go to bed so I might feel better and maybe not have many headaches.

  30. I love this technique. I have used this a lot since you showed it to us the first time in alpha about 3 months ago. I use to have a lot of problems with my jaw locking up and frequent jaw pain. I have not had these problems since I started using this technique occasionally. I had not thought about this before today, but I also have a lot fewer headaches now than I used to as well. I wonder if this might be why. I will have to try this with a couple of my children who are frequent headache sufferers. Maybe this can help them too.

  31. Although I don’t have much trouble in this specific area, it’s always good to have in your proverbial massage tool belt, also a quick, simple, and effective technique to dazzle clients with.

  32. My son was having a difficult time sleeping last night. He has a temper & I know that he clenches his jaw often. I used this technique & it helped him relax. I also discovered that he had a temoral headache. I paired this excercise with a light temporalis massage & he was out the rest of the night.

    Thanks Ross.

  33. I like this routine. I don’t have jaw issues but it feels like it would be a fantastic way to help if I did. I will be sure to try this on a client sometime.

  34. I am so lucky and i actually do not have this problem. My sister on the other hand does and i forwarded this blog to her and she has been doing it for a few days now and she says that it is so helpful. Thanks!

  35. I have TMJ because my jaw does not line up right. But I have an ocd thing that I have to eat on each side. One bite on the left then the other bite on the right. But I did do this technique and it really does seem to help. I will definitely be using this on my clients that we just can’t seem to get their neck pain to go away.

  36. I never really have trouble with this area, but i work with someone suffering from sever tmj. i told her about the technique you showed us in lab. she said it helped for immediate pain.

  37. Who would of thought that your massater would cause so much pain other areas and not cause pain in your massater? I remember doing this technique in class, looked goofy but worth it to relieve pain.

  38. I don’t usually have problems with this, but I will be sure to let people know what to do if they want to fix it.

  39. okay….I clenched my jaw while I sleep and I refuse to wear the little tooth thingy my dentist made for me, it taste like stinky plastic! I am going to start doing this at night and see if this makes a difference. Will this help you stop grinding your teeth? I want to still be able to eat steak at 90;)

  40. I just tried this technique, I didn’t have any neck pains but now my jaw just feels a lot less tense.

  41. My jaw pops all the time but it never causes me any pain. I think that it is not aligned properly because sometimes it will get to where I can’t open my jaw all the way and is kind of painful. When I stripped the masseter it was pretty sore but I had no idea it was. My jaw felt really good when I was done though.

  42. I really need to keep up with this routine because I suffer from TMJ. I would love to find something that would bring me relief from my popping jaw and headaches. I will definitely try to keep this technique up so I can pass along the technique to my clients.

  43. I do not have and problems with my jaw. But I do know a couple of people that I can try this technique on =)

  44. This is definitely good information to know. There are so many different things that can cause neck pain and head aches. I like knowing how to fix people.

  45. I used to have TMJ problems and I wish I knew about these techniques back then! Now I know what to do if anyone comes to me with jaw or neck pain.

  46. I remember learning this technique in class one Monday with gloves, that was interesting. I like this technique alot. It made me a little sore, I think I went a little too deep. It does help though.

  47. I have jaw pain from when i had my jaw broke and reset. As i get older it gets worse and i will start using these techniques to see if it gets better.Thanks for sharing.

  48. I like this treatment and I have passed it on to a friend that has a lot of headaches to see if this can help her in anyway.

  49. It is great to have one more technique that you can use for another kind of pain. Little things that make a huge difference for yourself and especially for your clients or friends. Thanks again.

  50. Short and nice relief technique though I do not have have neck pain or headaches occur very often it did release a tender spot in my left lower jaw( masseter ) muscle. Thank you Mr. AshCraft.

  51. When I did this technique I found out that both muscle had tender spots and as I continued to do the technique it got better.

  52. I do this every time my jaw hurts I do this it also has helped with my head. I will continue to use this.

  53. I did this for a client the other day , not every step but pretty close. Now I can perform the other part for her when she comes back in. I will let my daughter know about this also. Dentist told her if she wasn’t careful she would lose use of her jaw because it would eventually fall open and not shut if she didn’t quit popping it. I hope she has listened.
    Thanks again Ross!

  54. My muscles weren’t sore, but after doing that treatment I could tell a difference. I noticed that my muscles were actually sore when I applied pressure to them.

  55. I don’t have a lot of jaw pain but the technique was still relaxing (also super quick and easy!). There were a couple of slightly tender spots that, hopefully this technique will help over time!

  56. Well I think by now you know I have TMJ, this treatment is one of my absolute favorites! It’s definitely uncomfortable, but the result is always worth it. If I ever come across someone with TMJ or just tight muscles in the jaw area I will always give them this blog as homework.

  57. dragging fingers down to jaw feels good. when i get a cold though i notice the nodules behind my jaw just under the ear get swolen

  58. This is amazing! another great technique we can inform our clients to do for homework. Another great tool to add to our arsenal of technique to better improve our clients life. Another great article Ross.

  59. This is a great technique. I will be sharing this with a few friends and future clients. I am glad everyone in this class new what I was doing when I was doing this technique or they would’ve thought I was mental haha love that addition in the steps of the technique.

  60. After doing this just once, it relieved pain I was having in my jaw. I’ll try these a few nights before I go to bed to see if ti’ll help with neck pain I have, since it’s almost always there :(.

  61. I am going to have to start doing this at night. I have clenched my jaw since I was a child and it seems that almost everyday I get the same headache at around the same time. Hopefully this will be the easy fix I need.

  62. Ok Ross, I think I just gave myself a tension headache. lol…that hurts, especially when you open / close the jaw. OK maybe a hurt so good feeling. I need to do this more often I guess. I thought by flapping my jaws so much in class that they would be in shape. lol

  63. My masseter was surprisingly sore when i did this. i didnt even realize that my masseter felt neglected. going to do this more often now!

  64. I am most definitely going to have to start doing this at night. I can’t wait to try it. So far all the techniques that have been written about have worked so I seriously can’t wait to try this out. Who knows it might work for my husband to!!

  65. I don’t have any issues with my jaw. I will be sure to try this if in the future a problem should occur.

  66. Jaw pain is not an issue for me, but I will definitely keep this article as a resource for any family, friends and clients who present with this problem.

  67. I am truly grateful that I do not deal with neck pain. My neck is very sensitive so I do not like people being rough with it but it doesn’t usually cause me pain.

  68. This was a good technique the week we learned it. My grandma has TMJ, I will have to show it to her sometime to see if it helps her.

  69. When I was a child I broke my jaw, so every now and then my jaw feels uncomfortable. But i have never thought of my jaw muscles causing head and neck pain!

  70. Okay that was tender!! Wow I know I don’t have TMJ but I could really feel a change with just those simple steps. Awesome to know and I plan on adding this as a part of my bedtime routine. Thanks for the blog

  71. “As I’m watching Matt palpate his face” I noticed that i was using a lot of these same techniques last night before bed. Meaning Most of the self massage techniques are sinking in

  72. I never really have problems with my jaw until now. My jaw tends to lock up in the morning. But I will definitely try out this excercise.

  73. I have been have TMJ a lot lately. It has actually progressed to the point that when I turn my head and stretch my neck muscles, my jaw can feel as if it is being pulled out of place. I am going to try this! Thank you!

  74. I have never been diagnosed with TMJ but I have noticed some extreme tension and pain in my jaws, usually resulting in a head ache. I remembered these techniques from one of my first weeks in class and began using them. And they really work. Of course I end up having to address my temporalis, occiptals and neck also, because by the time my jaw pain is intense enough to make me uncomfortable, the rest of my head and neck have been in a constant state of tension.

  75. I hold a lot of tesion in my jaw. I was applying the treatment on myself while reading and can feel a difference.

    1. Thanks for the comments! Do you have TMJ? This treatment is designed to be a part of a massage team approach. It must be done gently and daily to push back the daily stress we give our jaws. It won’t fix you over night….but it will help your body to relax and repair your jaw muscles while you sleep.

  76. well that felt good:) who knew that jaw pain could actually refer pain to the neck! This is another tool i will use in my practice!

  77. This is interesting and I am glad i dont have these problems but I know a couple of people that do so I can show them these techniques and see if it helps them.

  78. I will totally use these techniques, I did not realize that one side of my jaw was more muscular than the other. I will try to remember to chew with both sides from now on.

  79. I think this is very good advice and i will add this to my toolbox for clients or family members… I really like the blogs that are self help bogs because they help the client help us and when being able to make it a part of their everyday lifestyle it can be longterm healing for the client.

  80. Relief for all of us women who grind/bite/clamp down at night as we work out stress! More common than most people are aware of, and even with a night appliance, a person can continue to have jaw pain and muscle pain/fatigue. I haven’t used any stretches in the past, just thankful for a great dentist who is privy to this kind of pain and the degradation it causes to the entire mouth and jaw. I am loving these blogs as I can take a few minutes to read them, and be on my way to incorporating the stretches and advice. Thanks.

  81. I have a friend who has TMJ and I think this will benefit her greatly. Thank you for this information.

  82. This is a great homework exercise to send home with clients who have this problem. Even though I don’t have TMJ pain, I do grind my teeth. Perhaps it will alleviate my neck pain!

  83. This feels amazing. I get headaches a lot and I think it is caused from TMJ. I have been told that I bite and grind my teeth in my sleep and it makes my jaw muscles sore when I wake up. I will continue to do these exercises and see if helps.

  84. I have residual TMJD from a jaw surgery I had about 10 years ago. My chiropractor gave me a routine very similar to this to help with flare ups. It works great

  85. This is some great exercise home work to do on your self and also a client i dont have any problems with tmj or my jaw ingeneral so this would mostly be good homework for clients

  86. I can see how those neck muscles slightly tense as I practice biting hard.

    It is really interesting how a person can be unaware of tension they hold in their jaw and how it effects the tension and pain of the neck.

    Doing these exercises seems to be a great way to relax those muscles and would certainly give relief to people who are chronic teeth gritters.

  87. I have noticed over the past year I started to grind my teeth at night more and my jaw has started to click.I just know it is damaging my body! I hope this technique offers relief.

  88. This is a good blog for me and people that have TMJ. Mine is so bad from grinding my teeth all day and while I sleep I now wear a a mouth piece to try and help me. My TMJ causes me to have sharp pains in my ears, jaw pains and really bad headaches I’m glad to see this blog and will be doing this homework

  89. Thanks for this article. I have trouble with my ears and neck…could be TMJ. I’m going to try these exercises.

  90. I’m not so sure about the relief from my neck but only because I feel such a relief from my TMJ it’s hard to notice relief any where else. My jaw muscles constantly hurt. Which explains some of the neck pain I feel. Thanks for the awesome information. 🙂

  91. I find it painfully fascinating that when we have pain in one area that it is usually referred from another areas. I would never have figured that alot of my neck pain could be cause from my masseter.

  92. Haven’t had this problem but it will be a technique to inform others that have this problem

  93. I have a lot of friends with TMJ that would benefit from this, also great homework to give clients. Easy steps for great results.

  94. I liked this blog I think this should work . I am going to try this because I do have TMJ.

  95. I tend to clinch my teeth a lot either from stress or in my sleep. I often don’t catch myself until I realize my jaws hurt. Thanks for the tip!

  96. Easy enough to do and to remember without this sitting in front of you. Definatly going to use this as homework for clients

  97. Great information! And something anyone can do. Will most definitely be sending any client I have with TMJ this home as homework.

  98. Perfect as homework for clients, as well as for myself! i’ve already learned quite a few things that have brought me a lot of relief, but this seems like it will really reap some rewards. looking forward to trying it. Thanks.

  99. I have never noticed any pain in my jaw but I have problems with pressure in my ears. I am curious if this stretch would relieve my ear pressure? Going to have to try it out.

  100. Sometimes I get some jaw pain. I am going to use this and tell my mom about it. Some times she grinds her teeth and I think this will help. Thank u so much.

  101. This simple technique actually felt pretty good. It felt like i was giving myself a nice face stretch and it noticeably loosened up my jaw!

  102. this is something my chiropractor told me to do to help with my neck problems. it defiantly relieves the pressure and feels good.

  103. This works! I grind my teeth at night. Some days I can only drink coffee and watch Dave eat the scones. So, now I can get back to normal with this technique.

  104. Fantastic read, thank you for the great tip, to help my friend Michelle who might sufferer with this because of too much coffee!

  105. I love this technique i am happy to have learned you could have neck pain from clenching jaw muscles! Thank you now i know what i can do outside of taking pain pills.